Sheffield United’s James McAtee Man City transfer hopes after boss’s verdict on Tommy Doyle miss

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Blades remain keen on McAtee with Doyle set to move elsewhere in Prem

Paul Heckingbottom has confirmed that James McAtee remains high on Sheffield United’s wanted list ahead of tonight’s transfer deadline, but remains philosophical about missing out on his Manchester City teammate - and fellow former loanee - Tommy Doyle. A deal has been struck for Doyle to join Wolves on loan, with a reported option to buy for just £5m.

City and Wolves have been negotiating over a deal for Matheus Nunes, who is set to join City for £53m, and so it is not certain that United would have been offered such a generous deal for Doyle had they firmed up their interest in bringing the midfielder back to Bramall Lane. Another loan deal always seemed more likely, given Doyle’s salary at the Etihad and United’s insistence on inserting relegation release clauses into player contracts.

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Doyle was keen to return to Bramall Lane and Heckingbottom, who remained in contact with the player and his representatives over the summer, open to the possibility as well after the 21-year-old impressed with both his ability and attitude last season as United secured automatic promotion to the Premier League. Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Everton, Heckingbottom said of the Doyle miss: “It’s life, isn’t it?

“With Tommy, you guys [in the media] have always spoken about him but listen, we do all we can all the time to get one, but I’m not going to have got everything I wanted to go our way this window. Nowhere near. But what we are doing is fighting the best to get the best we can during the window. And being in the strongest possible position. That’ll continue until the very end.”

City have turned down offers approaching £30m for McAtee this summer and see him as a key part of their squad for the future. With Cole Palmer on the brink of a big-money move to Chelsea, there were initial reports that McAtee would not also be allowed to leave on loan this summer - but after the £55m signing of Jeremy Doku, plus the impending arrival of Nunes, reports in Manchester suggest that McAtee may be free to continue his football education elsewhere ahead of tonight’s 11pm deadline.

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“It is what it is,” Heckingbottom continued. “They’re not the only players out there, we’re down the line with a few and we’d be foolish to put all our eggs in one basket. We just can’t do it. We’ve got things going and if we get the green light, we’ll move and get it done.

“He [McAtee] is one of the ones that we’d love to bring in. Until we’re told otherwise we don’t give up hope on any of the targets. It’s up to us. Each player we’d be looking to bring in, or options we’d be looking to bring in, are slightly different in terms of deals. Some are waiting on us, others are more complex and waiting on the other club. But all are at the point where we get the green light we have to go for it and see what falls into place.”

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